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Business is blooming
Retailers: Demand is up for Valentine’s Day gifts
Bradley Draper of Draper’s Florist works on an arrangement of red roses for Valentine’s Day. Local florists said that demand rose this year at their shops for arrangements. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Thursday, February 14, 2013
From Bulletin staff reports
Love is in bloom this Valentine’s Day, and local florists have the receipts to prove it.
The tradition of giving flowers to the ones we love is as old as the holiday itself, which means demand for colorful arrangements typically is high.
Shirley Amos, owner of Shirley’s Floral in Bassett, said she “hardly had time to breathe” Wednesday.
“We’ve been very busy. We had a large increase over last year and the year before” providing gifts for today’s Valentine’s Day sweethearts, she said.
“I’ve been here for 23 years, and back when I came” and industries were open, Amos said the amount of business leading up to Valentine’s Day “was unreal. It was nothing to work all night long. Then, we saw a big dip in the economy” when plants closed.
“But for some reason, business has picked up this year,” she added. “I don’t know what’s happened, but it’s a busy time this year.”
Sharon Martin, owner of Bryant Everett Florist in Collinsville, also described her Wednesday as “hectic. We’ve been very busy.” Business started building “really during the middle of last week. Of course, this week has been very busy,” she added.
Brad Draper, manager of Draper’s Florist, said sales are running about the same as last Valentine’s Day. Many of the same customers buy from Draper’s each year. However, some people seem to be a little more conservative in their spending now, not paying as much for Valentine’s items as they used to. Also, he doesn’t see as many flowers being sent to schools now.
Despite business trends, one constant remains in the flower business on Feb. 14 — roses.
“Everybody is hollering for roses,” Amos said. The cost of a dozen, long-stemmed red roses boxed is $68 plus delivery at her store.
“Everything we’re sending out (preparing) is vased roses,” Draper said, noting that Draper’s Florist charges $65 for a vase of a dozen roses with baby’s breath.
Buck Davis, co-owner of Simply The Best Flowers and Gifts, said he had seen little demand for unarranged flowers. Loose roses are $5 each. An arrangement of a dozen, with the vase, baby’s breath and greenery, is $69.99.
However, Davis said, mixed fresh-cut flower arrangements also are popular. The price depends on the flowers used in an arrangement.
Lillies are especially popular in such arrangements, and they are more expensive than roses at $7 a stem. But people mix lillies with other flowers in arrangements and that keeps costs down.
Draper also said vases of mixed flowers are popular, as are balloons and teddy bears to go with the flower arrangements. Balloons are $3.95. Teddy bears are $7.95 to $29.95.
Martin said red roses are the top seller in her store, where they are priced at $4.95 per stem, or about $60 per dozen.
“But we have seen a lot of white roses to be popular this year. More of the (colored roses) have gotten more popular this year, but the white in particular” ranks second behind the red, she said.
She noted that often, the outside of the white roses are tipped in a color. This year, popular colors are “light blue and purple, so it’s been different this year,” Martin said.
When flowers or gifts aren’t enough, some couples may choose to make the holiday into an extended getaway at a local hotel.
Tammy Bowles, director of sales and marketing at the Dutch Inn Hotel and Restaurant in Collinsville, said response to its overnight Valentine’s package — dubbed the “intimate escape” — has been greater than last year.
The package includes an overnight hotel stay with champagne and a bed covered in rose petals, dinner and admission to lounge, Bowles said. Breakfast the next morning is included, as well is a 2 p.m. checkout.
“We have a good turnout for that,” she said. “We usually do it for three nights” or two, depending the day of the week on which Valentine’s Day falls. This year, because it is on a Thursday, she said, the special is available Thursday, Friday or Saturday.
“When it falls on a weekend, we’ve done as many as 40 packages,” she added.
So far, Bowles said, the special has sold better than last year. “It’s about 50 percent better,” she said.
Bowles isn’t surprised, however. The “intimate escape” has been popular at the Dutch Inn for years, she said.
The “intimate escape” is a feature that draws early attention. “We got a lot of calls before we even got the package together,” she said.